Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Athens
APPEAL FROM MUNICIPAL COURT
P. Wood, Lancaster, Ohio, for appellant. 
A. Eliason, Athens City Law Director, and Matthew M. Ward,
Athens City Prosecutor, Athens, Ohio, for appellee.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
1} This is an appeal from an Athens County Municipal
Court judgment that denied the request of Charitha Ananthula,
defendant below and appellant herein, to withdraw her guilty
plea. Appellant assigns one error for review:
"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING APPELLANT'S
MOTION TO WITHDRAW HER GUILTY PLEA AFTER SHE WAS
2} Appellant, an Indian national, lives in the
United States on a foreign student visa. On February 5, 2018,
appellant was charged with theft in violation of Athens City
Code Ordinance 13.03.01, a first-degree misdemeanor. On
February 6, 2018, appellant, while represented by counsel,
entered a not guilty plea. Although the record includes
multiple requests for continuances, two are especially
relevant to this appeal. On March 28, 2018, the trial court
granted a request for a continuance and wrote that appellant
"is a foreign student. Counsel is reviewing impact of
immigration status." On April 17, 2018, the court issued
another entry and wrote "need to [check] on immigration
3} On May 7, 2018, appellant pleaded guilty to
theft. The trial court imposed a $500 fine and ordered her to
serve 90 days in jail, with all the jail time and $400 of the
fine suspended on the conditions that appellant remain a law
abiding citizen for two years, complete 40 hours of community
service, and have no contact with Wal-Mart.
4} On March 21, 2019, appellant filed a motion to
withdraw her guilty plea. Appellant's motion cited
Crim.R. 32.1 and R.C. 2943.031, State v. Francis,
104 Ohio St.3d 490, 2004-Ohio-6894, 820 N.E.2d 355 (2004),
and Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 130 S.Ct.
1473, 176 L.Ed.2d 284 (2010). After the trial court held a
hearing on the motion, the court denied appellant's
request. This appeal followed.
5} "Criminal defendants who are not United
States citizens are permitted to withdraw a guilty plea in
two distinct ways: (1) upon the finding that they were not
given the warning required by R.C. 2932.031(A)(1) (and the
court was not relieved of that requirement under R.C.
2943.031(B) of the potential consequences to their resident
status when they pled guilty to criminal charges, among other
related requirements contained in R.C. 2943.031(D)), or (2)
when a court finds, pursuant to Crim.R. 32.1, that it is
necessary to correct manifest injustice." State v.
Cardenas, 2016-Ohio-5537, 61 N.E.3d 20, ¶ 14 (2d
Dist), citing State v. Toyloy, 10th Dist. Franklin
No. 14AP-463, 2015-Ohio-1618, ¶ 12.
6} Section (F) of R.C. 2943.031 "clarifies that
the statute does not prevent a trial court from granting a
plea withdrawal under the procedural rule, Crim.R.
32.1." Id. Thus, R.C. 2943.031 provides
"an independent means of withdrawing a guilty plea
separate and apart from and in addition to the requirements
of Crim.R. 32.1." State v. Weber, 125 Ohio
App.3d 120, 129, 707 N.E.2d 1178 (10th Dist. 1997). When a
motion to withdraw a plea is premised under R.C. 2943.031(D),
the usual "manifest injustice" standard applied to
Crim.R. 32.1 motions does not apply; rather, the R.C.
2943.031 standards apply. State v. Francis, 104 Ohio
St.3d 490, 2004-Ohio-6894, 820 N.E.2d 355, ¶ 26.
Moreover, the Supreme Court of Ohio instructs us that,
regardless of whether a motion to withdraw a plea is based on
R.C. 2943.031 or Crim.R. 32.1, an appellate court reviews a
trial court's decision under the abuse-of-discretion
standard. Francis at ¶ 32, citing State v.
Smith, 49 Ohio St.2d 261, 361 N.E.2d 1324 (1977),
paragraph two of the syllabus.
7} In her sole assignment of error, appellant
asserts that the trial court erred by overruling her motion
to withdraw her guilty plea.
8} If a defendant is not a citizen of the United
States, under R.C. 2943.031(A) a trial court must personally
address the defendant and advise, on the record, the possible
deportation consequences associated with a guilty plea. R.C.
(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, prior
to accepting a plea of guilty or a plea of no contest to an
indictment, information, or complaint charging a felony or a
misdemeanor other than a minor misdemeanor if the defendant
previously has not been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a
minor misdemeanor, the court shall address the defendant
personally, provide the following advisement to the defendant
that shall be entered in the record of the court, and
determine that the defendant understands the advisement:
"If you are not a citizen of the United States, you are
hereby advised that conviction of the offense to which you
are pleading guilty (or no contest, when applicable) may have
the consequences of deportation, exclusion from admission to
the United States, or denial of ...